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Library Quicklinks and Information

EndNote: References

Instructional information with links to resources for EndNote

Questions about references

1. I've made changes to the references in my library but they aren't reflected in my document?

Click the Update Citations & Bibliography button in the EndNote 20 tab in Word (Microsoft). If changes you have made to references in your EndNote library are still not showing in your document, try unformatting and reformatting the document (Both Microsoft and macOS)

  • Make a back-up of your document by saving it with a new name.
  • Unformat references by selecting ''Convert Citations and Bibliography'' from Word's EndNote 20 tab.
  • Choose ''Convert to Unformatted Citations''.
  • Reformat by clicking ''Update Citations and Bibliography''.

2. Is there a quick way to identify and remove duplicate references?

There are two methods to identify and remove duplicate references. You can:

  • use the Find Duplicates command from the Library menu. This command displays a Find Duplicates dialog where you can compare duplicates and decide which reference to keep and which to delete. Before deleting any record, make sure it is not cited in a paper.
  • set up your EndNote preferences so that duplicates are automatically discarded during the download process. (Edit >Preferences>Duplicates)

3. How do I abbreviate my authors in-text when using EndNote?

EndNote will always put a corporate author's name in full, as the program treats company names like surnames. To change the way the author's name is displayed in text, you will need to use Edit and Manage citations in the EndNote Toolbar in Word.

Change the formatting from "Default" to "Exclude Author" and then write the author abbreviation in the Prefix box, including any punctuation you will need before the year (i.e. the comma and space).

You will need to do this for every citation for which you need to use an abbreviation for the author's name.

4. Can I make changes to many references at once?

To perform a bulk edit of references:

  • First ensure you have a list of references displayed for which you wish to make changes. The operation will be applied to all displayed references, not all highlighted references. You can always create a Group in order to display the relevant references together. 
  • From the Library menu, select Change/Move/Copy fields
  • Select the appropriate field and type in the text you wish to copy to that field for all references in your list. You can choose to have the text appear before or after any existing text in the field, or to replace it.

Warning! If you are appending additional content to existing text in a field, the additional text cannot then be removed as a group edit.

5. Can I find and replace data in multiple references at once?

It is possible to do this but be cautious of making changes to references which might affect your citations or bibliography:

  • Create a Group and name it appropriately, i.e. "References to be Edited".
  • From the All References tab, select the references that you want to edit and add them to the new group.
  • Click on the new group to display the selected references in the central panel.
  • Click on Library and then Find and Replace.
  • From the In drop down list, select the field to be searched.
  • in the Find box, type the text to be changed and in the Replace box, the text to replace it.
  • You can now choose to delete the new group, as changes will be retained.

6. My references have not imported correctly

This will depend on the accuracy of the information in the source where you got your reference from, and the accuracy of the import filter. Import filters often operate without you realizing, if you are exporting references directly from an online database. 

Sometimes data fields will be populated incorrectly or missing. First, check that the data was actually in the source itself - for example, often journal articles will not have a volume or issue number if they are published electronically ahead of print.

You can also try exporting from the source in a different file format, if the option is available. Often a .RIS file works well, in some cases BibTex. 

7. If I delete references from a group within EndNote will they be removed from the main library itself?

If you use the Remove References from Group command (found from the Groups menu, or right-click), the reference(s) will only be removed from the group. If you select Move References to Trash (found from the References menu), the reference(s) will be deleted from the main library itself.

8. How do I add a reference by importing a PDF?

Do you have a folder of articles, or individual articles saved on your computer that you would like to add to your EndNote library? Note: This technique works best with pdfs from publishers (or those with a doi).

  1. In EndNote, click File>>Import, Select Folder or File.
  2. Select Choose to locate the item/s you want to import, then select pdf under the Import Option.
  3. Click the Import button.

Some items may not download the full bibliographic information and will look like this: <Brown 2011.pdf>

You can either delete those records or manually add the relevant fields in EndNote.

9. How do I attach a PDF to a reference?

  1. Save the pdf to a designated location on your computer.
  2. Highlight the reference in EndNote, then right-click and select File Attachments>>Attach File.

From here you have 2 options:

Option A: Attach the pdf  to the reference  – this is called a relative link. (EndNote stores the pdf in the .data file)


Option B: Create a link to the location where the article is stored – this is called an absolute link.

NOTE: When searching for the file to attach, you will see a box ticked at the bottom of the page that says: Copy this file to the default file attachment folder and create a relative link.  Untick this box if you want to use Option B.

10. My document has 2 reference lists.

When you convert a copy of your document to plain text for submission or review, it keeps the Word formatting, but removes the active links between your EndNote library and the in-text citations and bibliography in your document. EndNote is longer be able to recognise the citations it originally inserted for you when the document was actively linked to it. If you insert new citations into this plain text version, EndNote will start creating a new reference list at the very end of that document. This is how you can end up with 2 reference lists. Instead: 

  • Open the plain text version to view the comments.
  • Have your original EndNote formatted document open as well, and make your changes to it.

This way you will only have one reference list and you will avoid any issues with the Review comments formatting in Word clashing with the EndNote formatting.

It will also help to name your files clearly and consistently to avoid this kind of confusion. For example, you could put ForReview on the end of the file name.